Meretz Primaries: How Did “Israel’s Left” Vote?

Meretz Primaries: How Did “Israel’s Left” Vote?

Knesset Member Ilan Gilon was the most socially-conscious member of the Meretz party during the 19th Knesset, according to the results of the Social Index, an examination of Members of the Knesset based on their votes on bills on socio-economic issues. Gilon achieved a very high score, 91.2 out of a possible 100 points, despite the fact that he only participated in 45% of eligible votes. This result shows that Gilon had a high effectiveness rating; in other words, when he did bother to show up to votes, he voted in a highly socially-conscious manner. Overall, Gilon came in in 4th place overall on the Social Index. Meretz MK Michal Rozin also scored very highly on the index, earning a score of 89.4.

The Social Index is published at the end of each Knesset session and examines how Members of Knesset voted on socio-economic bills. Votes that align with the values of the Social Guard in the Knesset win Members of the Knesset positive points, while those that clash with the Social Guard’s values lead to negative points. Non-votes do not affect the ranking in either direction. The index of the 19th Knesset includes all of its sessions, with votes weighted based on in which session they occurred and on their perceived importance to create a range of possible scores from 100 downward. A list of all the bills that were examined in the Social Index is available in Hebrew here.

This coming Monday, the roughly 1000 members of Meretz’s central committee will choose their party’s candidate list for the upcoming elections. Meretz’s primaries are the last of the major parties in the lead-up to the elections. The Social Guard published faction-specific Social Indexes before each party’s primaries – English versions are available for the results of the Index for the Labor and Jewish Home parties.

Five of Meretz’s current six Knesset Members are standing for re-election to the party’s candidate list. MK Nitzan Horowitz, who scored as the third-most socially conscious member of the party in the last Knesset, decided not to run for reelection. MK Tamar Zandberg came in fourth place in the party, with a score of 86.9, while MK Issawi Frej came in 5th place with a score of 80.2, while party leader Zehava Gal-On came in last place in the faction with a score of 78.7. It is important to mention that every Meretz Knesset Member, including Gal-On, finished in the top 20 of all 120 Knesset Members in the Social Index.

Meretz began the 19th Knesset with a high presence at Knesset votes on bills relating to socio-economic issues. During last summer’s session, however, the party's Knesset Members received low scores relative to previous periods, mainly as a factor of their low presence at votes. For example, all party members were absent from the vote on the first reading on the “0% VAT” Bill, (despite their vocal opposition to it in the media) and from the vote on the bill to strengthen protections against sexual harassment in institutions employing workers with disabilities, despite the fact that Meretz MK Michal Rozin was one of the initiators of the bill. However, in the Knesset session thereafter, the presence of Meretz members on votes on social issues nearly double, from an average of 26% in summer and 45% at the next.

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